Should States Let Families Force Addicts Into Rehab?

How do drug addicts fare when involuntarily placed in rehab centers or hospitals? Currently, more than 20 states in the U.S. allow family members to petition a judge for compulsory treatment of an addict. Surprisingly, according to Dr. Paul Christopher, a former cocaine and heroine addict himself, individuals who are forced into treatment against their will do no worse in rehab than those who enter voluntarily. Also surprising is the fact that neither type of patient does very well. Dr. Christopher contends that most addicts will relapse and that there are few resources, other than self-help groups, to support the chronic drug user.

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